Modern Technology: Fostering Loss of Physical Abilities

Ming Zhen

PureInsight | July 26, 2004

[] Cities are filled with skyscrapers and highway overpasses are being built higher and higher. All these are demonstrations of the technology of modern people. However, with the concurrent limitation on the field of view, people's eyes have fewer and fewer chances to look far away. Since there is no need to see far away, people's eyes have gradually become incapable of seeing far away.

Looking at history objectively, people's physical abilities are indeed regressing. In ancient times, people could walk a hundred li [1 li = 0.5 km, so a hundred li is roughly 32 miles] a day and ride a horses a thousand li in a day, but nowadays, very few ordinary people could do this except for some athletes or people who undergo intensive physical training. It has been said that Yang Guifei liked to eat leechees, so the court sent people to fetch fresh leechees from Guangdong to pay tribute to the emperor. When Yang Guifei picked up the leechees and put them into his mouth, the morning dew was still on them. People could travel the several thousand li from Guangdong to Chang'an on the same day. It is very difficult to travel this fast for today's people, even if they drive cars, so people take the story as an unbelievable legend.

Since humans' physical inborn abilities are regressing with the development of technology, then have humans also lost many original abilities throughout the course of history? For example, people in the future may take near-sightedness as a normal physical trait, because everybody may be near-sighted, and will not believe that human eyes can actually see far away. For this reason, many "supernormal" abilities of the human body described in historical recordings, such as the story of traveling a thousand li in a day to deliver leechees to the emperor, were considered "normal" abilities for people at that time, but they have declined with the development of mechanized methods of travel.

Modern science also provides us with ways to correct this impaired eyesight, from the simplest eye glasses, contact lenses, to laser correctional eyesight surgery. Now, with advancing cutting edge technology, it is said that some scientists are developing electronic eyes to replace human eyes (1) and some people are even considering using eyes grown from cloned cells as replacements for human eyes (2).

(1) "Japan Succeeds in Developing Artificial Eye", Xin Hua Net (April 22, 2004)

(2) "Cao Yilin Reveals Inside Information About Cloning" Xinmin Evening News (February 09, 2001)

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